Feb 28, 2014

Review: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Publication Date: 2.25.2014
Pages: 382
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Series: Dark Elements #1
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
One kiss could be the last 

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

One of these days Jennifer Armentrout is going to disappear and there is a good chance people will find her locked up in my basement with a laptop and endless supply of Jenuine Cupcake's peanut butter frosting so she can write exclusively for me nonstop. I honestly believe anything this woman writes is gold, and White Hot Kiss is no exception.

Armentrout brings her signature wit and flare to bring to life a world of demons and gargoyles right in our own backyard. She seamlessly weaves contemporary with paranormal in an exciting, original and heart-meltingly swoony ride.

Layla is a conflicted girl with a lot of sass and a lot of wounds. She begins guarded and a little emotionally fragile, but evolves into a kick ass heroine with biting snark and a backbone of steel. She's flanked by two of the hottest book boys in the history of book boys - bad boy demon, Roth, who has a lot more simmering under the surface than I originally thought. And also Zayne, Layla's protector and lifelong friend with unwavering loyalty.

This book is a brilliant start to another incredible series by Armentrout. Fans of hers have undoubtedly pre-ordered this one, but if you're new to the Armentrout craze, this is a great way to start a lifelong love of her work.
Buy: Amazon

Feb 27, 2014

Review: The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

Title: The Compound
Author: S.A. Bodeen
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: 4.29.2008
Pages: 248
Genre: Dystopian
Series: The Compound #1
Source: Finished copy from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Eli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy.

For Eli, no amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day. 

As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary—and their sanity—Eli can't help but wonder if he'd rather take his chances outside. 

Eli's father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe—or sorry?

Nuclear bomb shelter? I would want to have one if I knew that there was a very real possibility of an attack. Wouldn't you? That's exactly what Eli thought, at first.

Eli grew up hearing nothing but nuclear facts his whole life. That is all his father cared about. Then his father took that information an went a little to far. Tearing Eli's family apart. Eli quickly learns that he really has no idea who his father is. He was never around before and he certainly isn't now. And Eli needs his dad more then  ever.

These characters were so detailed. My favorite part about it a book is when you the character like a friend of yours. The insight given of the minds of Eli, his sisters, mother , and eventually his father really make this a personal story. At the same time there is enough mystery that you gasp when one of the characters surprises you with a decision.

This has got to be one of the most detailed stories I have read. You get the clearest picture of the compound and what Bodeen was trying to portray. There were a few details that seemed a bit over the top and not extremely relevant to the story but all put together, they give a mental map that really helps out the story line.

All the secrets, lies, and surprising relationships, Eli soon realizes that his little safe haven isn't what is seems and it's not safe. Bodeen take you on a captivating ride that pulls on your heart strings as one heart opens up. I actually had few tears with this one. And one of my favorite things, that little bit of "oh no!" at the end. I cannot wait to read the sequel!

Buy: Amazon

Feb 26, 2014

Blog Tour: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

About the Book
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 320
Pub. Date: February 25, 2014

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

I am a huge Victoria Scott fan. She wowed me with her Dante Walker series, so I have been so excited about reading her newest book, FIRE & FLOOD. Victoria did not let me down - not that I had any doubts she would.

Tella is a unique girl. I think what I loved about her most was her family bonds, especially with her brother, Cody. When presented with an opportunity to save her brother, she drops everything to do so. As the big sister of a little brother, I can assure you I understood her motivation every step of the way. There is nothing I wouldn't do for him, and no length too far to go to protect him. Tella, I feel you, girl.

Of course this is a Victoria Scott novel so you know she won't leave you hanging in the swoony boy department. I like Guy. He's strong and I just need more Guy in my life.

Fans of Victoria's first series won't be disappointed. She brings her usual wit and banter to vivid characters in dire situations. Her books are wonderful entertainment, I cannot wait to see how the next book goes.

About Victoria:
Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Israel, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

Giveaway Details:
10 finished copies of FIRE & FLOOD US Only

Tour Schedule

Week One:
2/17/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
2/17/2014- Curling Up With A Good BookReview
2/18/2014- No BS Book ReviewsReview
2/19/2014- FiktshunGuest Post
2/19/2014- Ketch's Book NookReview
2/20/2014- Step Into FictionReview
2/21/2014- Bewitched BookwormsInterview
2/21/2014- Seeing Night ReviewsReview

Week Two:
2/24/2014- BookishInterview
2/24/2014- NerdophilesReview
2/25/2014- The Book CellarReview
2/26/2014- The Irish Banana ReviewReview
2/26/2014- Cuddlebuggery- Guest Post
2/27/2014- Obsession with BooksReview
2/28/2014- Mundie MomsInterview & Review
2/28/2014- iceyBooksReview

Feb 24, 2014

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

I am so, so very excited to welcome Bethany Hagen onto the blog today. Bethany's debut novel, LANDRY PARK, was a surprise hit for me this year. I absolutely fell in love with the characters, setting, and brilliance of her writing. Make sure you check out my review.

One of the most difficult parts of writing Landry Park was writing about the Rootless.  In this world, all of the estates are driven by nuclear power, and all of the nuclear waste from these estates is handled by an underclass, the Rootless.  Malnourished, routinely beaten, and all suffering from some degree of radiation poisoning, the Rootless are the counterpoint to Madeline’s comfortable and luxurious life. 
There’s one scene in particular where Madeline goes to the sorting yards—the place where the nuclear waste is processed—and witnesses firsthand what their daily life is like.  I had just reread John Hersey’s Hiroshima prior to writing it, and so I had a very vivid picture in my mind of what acute radiation poisoning looks like.  It’s not pretty.  Beyond skin burns, the poisoned can experience frequent vomiting, severe headaches, and many develop forms of cancer.  Writing about that was not easy—but it was necessary for Madeline to see.

Landry Park Synopsis:
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish Gentry, sixteen year old Madeline Landry dreams of going off to the University. Gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when her childhood friend is attacked and she witnesses Gentry golden boy David Dana secretly helping a Rootless girl, in spite of the fact that the Rootless, who maintain the nuclear power the country relies on, are exposed to dangerous radiation. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been taught her whole life, rumors of war and rebellion begin to swirl amidst Gentry courtships and extravagant debuts. Soon Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she is forced to make a choice: to stay with the Gentry—her family, her charmed life, and the estate she loves dearly—or to join David in the fight for Rootless equality.

About Bethany Hagen: 
Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City, meaning she can tolerate jazz for brief amounts of time and is offended by dry rub barbecue. She grew up reading Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur. When she's not working at the library or running around with her kids and husband, she's writing or thinking about writing. Landry Park is her debut book.

The lovely folks at Penguin are letting me give away one finished hardcover copy of LANDRY PARK! Winner must be over 13. US only.

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Feb 21, 2014


Yesterday was the official three year blogoversary of The Irish Banana Review. 

Three years.

It has been a crazy 3 years, and if you're reading this, I hope you know how much I appreciate you being here. =)

That being said, I have been wrestling with some decisions lately and I've come to a couple conclusions that I think need to be shared with all of you. These decisions are for personal reasons and I'm not going to spend a lot of time preaching or justifying my reasons.

I'm ending the blog and moving to Alaska to be on Deadliest Catch.

Just kidding! We all know I can't handle snow. And touching fish squicks me out. So ... no.

But changes are a-coming. Here's what's going on:

1. New Rating System
When I first started The Irish Banana Review, I graded books much like an English teacher. They were given A - F's and it worked for me. Except when I gave out those D's and F's or - even worse - a DNF. 

I find writing negative reviews to be easier, but what bothered me more was the comments I got from people saying: 'Thanks for the warning - I won't read this.' It always felt ... wrong to me. I never, ever want to discourage people from not reading something.

There is no such thing as an unbiased review unless you're a robot. Every experience, event, moment, and memory colors and twists our perceptions and gives us a different reaction to something we read. The book I hate and want to throw across the room might be the book that you love and re-read a hundred times. And there is nothing wrong with either feeling.

So I've been slowly shifting this blog into only positive reviews. I'll be switching to a starred rating system, and nothing less than 3 stars will be reviewed here. I want a blog that endorses and promotes books. I want people to leave here wanting to read a book, not dismissing it.

I am not saying negative and critical reviews don't have a place. I think they do. And if you have them on your blog, awesome. I am just saying that for me (and Gabrielle), we want to focus on the positive. 

2. All Grown Up
The Irish Banana Review is a mostly YA blog. Yes, sometimes I review some New Adult and a smattering of Middle Grade, but the primary focus is Young Adult. Always has been, always will be. 

But I do find myself reading more and more adult novels. And I want to talk about these novels ... but because I've embraced a young audience here, I don't feel like this is the proper forum for it. So I am starting a second blog called (did you guess it?) All Grown Up. I will be posting adult reviews here once it's up and running. If you're a YA reviewer who also forays into adult and wants to review those books, let me know if you want to review on there, too. 

All Grown Up is not replacing The Irish Banana Review. 80% of what I read is YA/NA and will be reviewed here. But the other 20% will be on All Grown Up where I can talk about grown up books. Sometimes a girl just needs some grown up ... fun.

Get it? Any confusions? Comments? Suggestions? Questions?

All righty then. Until next time.

Feb 17, 2014

BEA 2014 - Here we go again

Most of these tips & tricks posts were created last year, but still hold true, so why fix what ain't broke? I'll be adding a couple more over the next few months. If you have any questions or suggestions for future posts, comment below or email me: theirishbanana.review@gmail.com

BEA Dates: May 28, 2013 - May 31, 2014
Hours: Thurs. & Fri. 9-5, Sat. 9-4
Official site: http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/

BEA Tips & Tricks Posts:
Are You Going?
For Your Consideration
Tips & Tricks - Part 1: As a Matter of FAQ (The BEA basics for beginners)
Tips & Tricks - Part 2: Take It On The Floor (Debunking BEA myths)
Tips & Tricks - Part 3: Make the Most of It (There are things to do besides BEA)
Tips & Tricks - Part 4: The Art of the Business Card (Keys to designing a business card)
Tips & Tricks - Part 5: Bring It On ... Or Not (Things to bring, leave & consider)
Tips & Tricks - Part 6: Power Up (A Power Readers guide for BEA)
Tips & Tricks - Part 7: Totes, Y'all! (Why a pre-packed tote is essential for BEA survival)
Tips & Tricks - Part 8: Schedule Mania (Tips for creating the perfect BEA schedule)

BEA Posts by Others: 
First Time to BEA? - From BookExpo America
Lexie's Info Post @ Poisoned Rationality
My BEA Mistakes by Liza @ Reading With ABC
BEA 2013 Info from Steph's Stacks
Scheduling Your Visit At BEA by Pushy & Danny @Bewitched Bookworms

My BEA Recap Posts:
BEA 2012 Recap
BEA 2012 Stacking the Shelves/IMM vlog
BEA 2013: Day 0
BEA 2013: Day 1
BEA 2013: Day 2
BEA 2013: Day 3

From 2013:
For the last two months, Lexie from Poisoned Rationality and Nicole from Paperback Princess and myself have been setting up a series of interviews all about BookExpo America. We've talked to bloggers, publicists, librarians, authors, and book sellers who each give a unique perspective about what they've learned from BEA and what you can expect this year. We'll be posting interviews the entire month of May leading up to BEA!

May 1 - Jenny @ Supernatural Snark
May 2 - Michelle Pickett
May 3 - Lili @ Lili's Reflections
May 4 - Cara Lynn Shultz
May 5 - Steph @ Read Rinse Repeat
May 6 - Sarah J. Maas
May 7 - Spencer Hill Press
May 8 - Danny @ Bewitched Bookworms
May 9 - Audrey (Librarian and Blogger @ Bibliosaurus Text)
May 10 - Lindsi @ Books, Sweets, and Other Treats
May 11 - Hannah @ Girl In the Cafe
May 12 - HarperCollins
May 13 - Sourcebooks
May 14 - Tasch @ Bloody Bookaholic
May 15 - Carmen Rodrigues
May 16 - Little, Brown & Company
May 18 - Macmillan Kids
May 19 - Kat Zhang

Check back for BEA Blitz 2014 in May!

Feb 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Run To You (Parts 1-3) by Clare Kensie

I am so very excited to welcome Clare Kensie to the blog today. Clare is the brilliant author behind RUN TO YOU, a new serial-format novel from HarlequinTeen that utterly amazed and intrigued me from start to finish. Today Clare is interviewing Tristan, the swoon-worthy leading male that Tessa falls hard for. And it's so easy to see why.

Clara Kensie Interviews Tristan, the Hero of Her Novel RUN TO YOU 

Hi there! I’m YA Author Clara Kensie, and today I’m interviewing high school senior Tristan Walker, the hero of my book RUN TO YOU. 
CK: Hey, Tristan, hold up! Got a minute? 
TW: I’m on my way to meet someone on the jogging trail, but sure, I have a second. Whatcha need? 
CK: Who are you meeting? 
TW. One of the girls from the new family that moved here a couple weeks ago. The one with the green eyes and the honey-colored hair. Sarah. 
CK: Her name is Sarah? You sure about that? TW: What do you mean? CK: Oh, nothing. Why are you meeting her? 
TW: I want to get to know her better. Who are you, anyway? Why are you asking all these questions?
CK: Relax, Tristan. I’m the author. I just wanted to ask what you thought about this girl Sarah. 
TW: Well… She’s guarded. Always looking over her shoulder. She acts like she doesn’t want anyone to notice her, but I think that on the inside, she really wants to have friends. 
CK: And you want to be that friend? 
TW: Yeah. I do. 
CK: Maybe more than friends? 
TW: All I know is, something is scaring her, and I want to keep her safe. 
CK: Do you think you can?
TW: Why wouldn’t I? Is there something I should know? You’re the author. Can’t you tell me what’s really going on?  
CK: Wish I could, Tristan, but you’ll have to find out along with everyone else. 
TW: I knew you would say that.

(available February 1, 2014)
Part One in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Sarah Spencer has a secret: her real name is Tessa Carson, and to stay alive, she can tell no one the truth about her psychically gifted family and the danger they are running from. As the new girl in the latest of countless schools, she also runs from her attraction to Tristan Walker—after all, she can’t even tell him her real name. But Tristan won’t be put off by a few secrets. Not even dangerous ones that might rip Tessa from his arms before they even kiss…

(available February 8, 2014)
Part Two in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Tessa Carson has unlocked her heart and her secrets to Tristan Walker—but Tristan has secrets of his own, and his might just mean the end of Tessa’s family. Unaware, Tessa embraces falling in love and being herself for the first time since she was attacked when she was only eight years old. But secrets can’t be run from forever, and sometimes love is too good to be true…

(available February 15, 2014)
Part Three in the riveting romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…
Betrayed, heartbroken, and determined to save her family, Tessa Carson refuses to give in to Tristan Walker’s pleas for forgiveness. But her own awakening psychic gift won’t let her rest until she uncovers the truth about her family and her past. And Tristan is the only one who can help her sift through the secrets to find the truth hidden in all the lies…

Buy Links:

About the Author

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Author Links:

3 winners will receive a package of Harlequin TEEN books which includes: 

  • PUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry (print)
  • INDIGO AWAKENING by Jordan Dane (print)
  • a SOUL SCREAMERS volume by Rachel Vincent (print)
  • All three parts of RUN TO YOU Book One (ebooks)
    • Part One: First Sight
    • Part Two: Second Glance
    • Part Three: Third Charm


Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 18 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond  or another winner’s name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.

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Feb 13, 2014

Blog Tour: Be With Me by J. Lynn

Welcome to the next stop in the BE WITH ME blog tour by the ever-amazing J. Lynn. I adore everything and everything she writes (both as J. Lynn and Jennifer L. Armentrout), and BE WITH ME is one of my absolute favorites of hers thus far.

Published by: William Morrow / Harper Collins
To Be Released on: February 4, 2014

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not…

Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kindle | Nook

We all have that author that is on our auto-buy list. J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout is one of those authors for me. She has a fun, vivacious, witty way of telling a story that grabs me immediately and doesn't let go. BE WITH ME is no exception to that rule.

You may remember Tess from Wait For You as Cam's little sister who has more than a few demons in her closet. Tess has been through the ringer and come back all the stronger for it, one of the many, many reasons I love her a main character. She's flawed but is able to pick herself up and keep going.

I knew I would love Tess, but I was surprised I love Jase as much as I did. I never got a strong opinion of him one way or another in book one, but he is such a genuine, good guy. He balances Tess perfectly. Jase also has some pretty frickin' awesome relatives (I am referring to a certain cupcake totin' gem who is more real than fiction but just as fabulous in both worlds).

This is a wonderful book. I know that new adult is being saturated with overdone tropes, but J. Lynn is a powerhouse writer who can truly do it all.

Rating: A

About The Author

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
Author LinksWebsite | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Feb 11, 2014

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Shadow Prince by Stacey O'Neale

Hey guys! I am so, so very excited to share with y'all the cover for THE SHADOW PRINCE - the first novella in my girl Stacey O'Neale's Mortal Enchantment series. This one sounds amazing and that cover is just freakin' amazeballs. I am so in lust with it!

This prequel novella will be FREE and available on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble on March 25, 2014!

Every sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he's capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Mortal Enchantment (Book 1)
ebook262 pages
Expected publication: May 20th 2014 by Phoenix Reign Publishing


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Stacey O'Neale started her career in publishing as a blogger turned publicist for two successful small publishers. She loves to write stories with swoony paranormal heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

When she's not writing, she loves blogging and fangirling about books on twitter. Occasionally, she leaves her computer to go outside.

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